Sighn of the times

Welcome to the International Documentary Photography Competition “Sign of the Times”!

We are looking for photographers who can capture the essence of our contemporary world through their lens. The photographs should depict the people, processes, things, and events that are defining our time in the 21st century.

We encourage you to take a closer look at the world around you and explore how it reflects the contemporary world. This theme allows for a wide range of subjects, from personal and intimate moments to grand events and social movements. You can explore the symbols of our time, the modern technology, and the innovations that define us as a society.

We want to see photographs that tell a story, with a strong visual impact and an emotional connection to the viewer. You can use any genre of documentary photography, including portraits, landscapes, still life, and street photography. The key is to capture the essence of our time, emphasizing the contemporary and the enduring.

We believe that photography is not just a reflection of the present, but also a testimony to the future. Therefore, we encourage photographers to create work that will be a reference point for future generations, capturing the evidence of our time in all its complexity.

Finally, we want to emphasize that there is no right or wrong way to approach this theme. We are looking for diversity and creativity in your submissions.

So, let your imagination run wild and show us your best work!

2023 SONY new International Photography Contest

Prize Sponsor

The main prize sponsor SONY



This competition is open to individuals living or representing Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Hungary, and Slovenia – five countries representing our PhotoKick Project.

Participants under 16, need to provide the parent’s or legal guardian’s consent to participate in the competition. If the organizers of the contest do not receive a valid signed parental or legal guardian consent form for any winner under the age of 16, an alternative winner from among the other participants will be announced.


The theme of the contest is “Sign of the Times” refers to documentary photography that captures the essence of the current era. The photographs should showcase the impact of contemporary social, political, and cultural issues.

Participation fee

All entries are free, with no participation fee.

Submission Period and Timeline

Entries open: May 15th, 2023 20.00 CET.
Entries close: July 15th, 2023 at 20.00 CET.

Winners’ announcement: online and live at the press opening of the award ceremony on September 30th, 2023, at Adatu Fabrika, the Art Academy House of Latvia, Kalpaku iela 4, Kuldiga, Latvia.

Exhibition period: September 25th to November 1st, 2023, at Adatu Fabrika, the Art Academy House of Latvia, Kalpaku iela 4, Kuldiga, Latvia.

Photography Week: September 25th to September 30th, 2023.

Judging period

The judging period for the contest is from July 15th to August 15th, 2023.

Award ceremony

The award ceremony will take place on September 30th, 2023, at Adatu Fabrika, the Art Academy House of Latvia, Kalpaku iela 4, Kuldiga, Latvia.


Main category:

1. Sign of the times for all single images

Sub Category:

2. Imagined cities for AI-generated images

Submission Guidelines

The photographs should be submitted through a link on the website. Each participant can submit up to three (3) photographs. Images must be taken in 2022.01.01.-2023.07.15. Images should be in high resolution suitable for printing in media and an exhibition, no smaller than 1 MB, and no larger than 5 MB. Any DPI setting. With the shortest side at a minimum of 1000 pixels. Images should be JPEG files only. All images must be saved in the sRGB color model.

Submissions must be made online at following link  by following the “Submit your pictures” link, uploading the images, and completing the web entry form.

Submission Captions

All entries must have accurate captions and descriptions in the APPLICANTS FORM (ANNEX 1), written in English. The Captions (file names) must be accurate and fulfill these requirements. The caption of every file submitted must:
a) Mention the name and surname of the author; (i.e. name.surname)
b) Title of the submitted file; (i.e.
c) Country representing the author; (i.e. Spain)
(Example of the total file name of the photograph:
d) In case you submitting the category Imagined cities for AI-generated images, then the end of the file must be “AI.image”
(Example of the total file name of the photograph:

In the APPLICANTS FORM (ANNEX 1) please briefly describe the subjects or themes of your proposed photographs (add a reference to photo – file name or similar). The details about who/what is in the photograph and what is going on within every photograph. Name the city, region or state, and country where the photograph was made. Provide the date of the photograph. (Max 500 characters).

In total there must be submitted such following files:

  • up to three (3) photographs (with the same author’s name and surname)
  • APPLICANTS FORM (ANNEX 1 download) (with the same author’s name and surname)
  • Photo of the Author (with the same author’s name and surname)

(Example of the file name APPLICANTS FORM (ANNEX 1): name.surname.applicants.form.annex1)
(Example of the file name of the Photo of the Author:

Judging Criteria

The judging process will be fair and impartial, with a panel of professional photographers and industry experts. The judges will assess the entries based on originality, creativity, technical excellence, and overall impact. The images must be photographic (either taken with a digital camera or similar device or scanned from film/print, etc.) and, although every form of post-processing is allowed, must represent a real scene, i.e. no key elements can be added, removed, or modified.


The international juror team consists of members delegated by PhotoKICK project partners. Each team will judge the photographs from the other four countries, not their own country. The juror teams are appointed by the Organizers and will consist of photographers, industry experts, critics, artists, museum specialists, journalists, and other experts.

Judging Process

Each country’s juror team will select the top 10 photographs from the other countries and give them a rating from 1 to 12 points. The best photo will receive 12 points, and the subsequent photos will receive points in descending order: 12, 10, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 points. The top 25 photographs from all five countries together will be selected for the final exhibition.


The competition will offer prizes for winners in both categories, including trophies, certificates, and/or awards. The organizers may also organize an exhibition of the winning entries in a gallery or online platform. The Organizer reserves the right to change the prizes to a comparable alternative due to unforeseen circumstances and any changes will be posted on the competition website. Prizes are not transferable and no cash equivalent will be offered. Prize may be awarded in the form of voucher(s), coupon(s), and/or gift card(s) in the Organizer’s sole discretion.

Main category “Sign of the Times” for all single images.

The 25 winning entries for the Main category selected by the international juror team will be presented in the Gallery at Adatu Fabrika, the Art Academy House of Latvia, Kalpaku iela 4, Kuldiga, Latvia in September 2023.

Three finalists of the main category receive Sony digital equipment, Certificate, Trophy, Global press exposure, inclusion in the exhibition, promoted on the PhotoKick Project website and social media as well as the following:

1st PRIZE winner receives: Sony ZV-1 + Sony GP-VPT2BT
This one overall winner receives the PhotoKick Contest Photographer of the Year’2023 title.
2nd PRIZE winner receives: Sony SRS-XE300 (blue)
3rd PRIZE winner receives: Sony WF-C700N (black)

Sub Category “Imagined Cities” for AI-generated images

Three winning entries for the Subcategory selected by the international juror team will receive Certificate, Trophy, and Global press exposure, promoted on the PhotoKick Project website and social media, will be presented in the Gallery at Adatu Fabrika, the Art Academy House of Latvia, Kalpaku iela 4, Kuldiga, Latvia in September 2023, as well as following:
1st prize winner receives a WIZZ AIR GIFT VOUCHER of 100 EUR and a Hungarian National Museum Travel Gift Card including 3 nights in Budapest + free entrance to the Hungarian National Museum + a 72 hours public transport ticket in Budapest. Travel (airplane, train) cost not included or could be used by Wizz Air Gift voucher for this prize.
2nd prize winner receives AIR BALTIC GIFT CARD for 100 EUR.
3rd prize winner receives an AMAZON GIFT VOUCHER for 50 EUR.
Winners will be announced online and at a black-tie ceremony on 30th September 2023  in Kuldiga, Latvia.

Winners’ Notification

The Winner will be announced during the award ceremony on September 30th, 2023. The Winner will be notified also by email using the information provided in the registration form. Selected Participants will be required to respond (as directed) to the e-mail notification within 72 hours of attempted notification. The failure to respond timely to the notification may result in forfeiture of the prize and in such case, the Organizers may choose the next highest scoring Entry from among the remaining shortlisted Entries.

Please note, that the email address you will get the notification from is Whitelist (add to safe senders list) this email address in your mailbox.


The photographer must be the author of the photographs submitted in their name. The photographers retain the copyright to their photographs. However, the organizers reserve the right to use the photographs for educational and promotional purposes related to the contest and exhibition, including publication on the website and social media.


The organizers reserve the right to disqualify any photograph that does not comply with the Rules and guidelines of the contest, or that is deemed inappropriate. Please note that AI-generated images are only accepted in the Imagined Cities category.

You warrant and represent, in respect of each photograph submitted by you, as follows:

  • You are the sole owner and author of each photograph.
  • By entering the competition, you agree and acknowledge that the competition organizers are permitted to receive your registration data. All personal information will be used by the International Photography Competition by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Rules of the International Photography Competition.
  • Each photograph does not contain any infringing, threatening, false, misleading, abusive, harassing, libelous, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, scandalous, inflammatory, pornographic, or profane content.
  • Each photograph does not contain any material that could constitute or encourage conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, or otherwise violate any law.
  • Each photograph does not infringe upon the copyrights, trademarks, contract rights, or any other intellectual property rights of any third person or entity, or violate any person’s rights of privacy or publicity, including:
    a) trademarks owned by third parties;
    b) copyrighted materials owned by third parties;
    c) names, likenesses, and other characteristics identifying celebrities or other public figures, living or dead.
  • Entries that contain any commercial content that promotes any product or service other than that of this International Photography Competition.
  • No animals were harmed or manipulated in the making of the image.

Acceptance of the Rules

By entering the competition, participants agree to confirm that they have read and abide by the Rules and decisions of the organizers and the judges. The organizers reserve the right to modify the Rules or cancel the competition at any time without prior notice.


LATVIA: Artis Gustovskis
LITHUANIA: Vitalija Duoblė
SPAIN: Alberto Vázquez
HUNGARY: Géza Papp
SLOVENIA: Štefan Simončič